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I'm an accidental interdisciplinary applicant


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I wanted to share my (increasingly bizarre) experience with the programs I'm applying to. Basically I am a cognitive neuroscientist, if I had to choose a label. Undergrad in English and Psych with a smattering of bio, 2.5 years work experience in an imaging lab. I applied to mostly Psychology programs, but at a few schools I also applied to the neuroscience department because there was faculty overlap between them and Psych. My results so far:

I was invited to interview at all 3 of the neuro programs I applied to, but only 4/11 psych programs, despite much stronger coursework in Psych than Bio (I have zero chemistry or cell bio courses, just bio 101 and anat and physiology).

I was accepted to a neuroscience program that is usually very heavy on the cell bio and chemistry but took me because they also do imaging; it is a very academically rigorous program where I would take my classes at a Top 10 med school.

I had my application at one school rerouted from Cognitive Neuroscience to Biology because the school is "trying to admit as many students as possible" and the coursework is the same in both departments.

During an interview at another school, I was given the option of rerouting my application from Behavioral Neuroscience to Social and Health Psychology because they felt that BN was more animal research and cell bio focused and the coursework would be a better fit in Social.

I am totally kicking myself for not applying to more Neuroscience programs. I know it's probably too late for this round, but if anyone is reading this next year - don't be afraid to apply slightly outside your field if the work is a good fit, even if you feel like your coursework isn't! You never know what will happen.

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That's interesting (and good) to hear! I'm interested in animal behavior and since there aren't too many schools specifically looking at animal behavior, I've been applying to various different programs in psychology. I applied to one neuroscience program that I haven't heard back from, but I've been thinking it's because I don't have a lot of the requirements needed for neuroscience programs. It's so difficult when you fit in an area that isn't quite a definited psychological area, but it's good to hear that you've been hearing back and finding programs that fit you!

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